Terms of Engagement

Standard Terms of Engagement

At Bramwell Bate Limited we continually strive to provide our clients with the best possible service, ensuring a superior relationship between lawyer and client. These Terms and Conditions (“Terms”) apply in respect of all work carried out by us for you, except to the extent that we otherwise agree with you in writing. We will take your continued instructions as your acceptance of these terms, so please ask if you have any questions about them.

1. Services

1.1 The services which we are to provide for you are outlined in our Letter of Engagement.

1.2 Unless specifically included in our Letter of Engagement, our services exclude taxation advice, investment advice and advice involving the laws of other countries.

1.3 While we will make every effort to draw your attention to impending expiry dates such as PPSR registrations, leases etc. dealing with such expiry situations remains the sole responsibility of the client.

2. Who we can accept instructions from

2.1 Unless you let us know otherwise:
(a) if you are a company, we can accept instructions from any of your directors or employees or any other person you have authorised to instruct us;
(b) if you are a trust, we can accept instructions from any of your trustees or officers;
(c) if you are a partnership, we can accept instructions from any of your partners or officers;
(d) if you are a couple, we can accept instructions from either of you

3. Client Care and Service

3.1 We have the following duties when providing legal services to you:
(a) To act competently, in a timely way, and in accordance with instructions received and arrangements made.
(b) To protect and promote your interests and act for you free from compromising influences or loyalties.
(c) To discuss your objectives with you and how they should best be achieved.
(d) To provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way the services will be provided.
(e) To charge you a fee that is fair and reasonable and let you know how and when you will be billed (see below).
(f) To give you clear information and advice.
(g) To protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality.
(h) To treat you fairly, respectfully and without discrimination.
(i) To keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed.
(j) To let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.

3.2 The obligations lawyers owe to clients are fully described in the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. Those obligations are subject to other overriding duties, including duties to the courts and to the justice system.

3.3 If you have any questions, please visit www.lawsociety.org.nz or call 0800 261 801.

4.Fees / Financial

4.1 We will ensure that our fees are fair and reasonable based on the following factors:
(a) the time and labour expended by us;
(b) the skill, specialised knowledge, and responsibility required for us to perform the services properly;
(c) the importance of the matter to you and the results achieved;
(d) the urgency and circumstances in which the matter is undertaken and any time limitations imposed by you;
(e) the complexity of the matter and the difficulty or novelty of the questions involved;
(f) the degree of risk assumed by us in undertaking the services, including the amount or value of any property involved;
(g) the experience, reputation, and ability of the people performing the services;
(h) the possibility that the acceptance of this matter will preclude us from acting for other clients with conflicting interests;
(i) whether the fee is fixed or conditional;
(j) any quote or estimate that we have provided;
(k) any fee agreement between us and you; and
(l) any other relevant circumstances.

4.2 Disbursements and expenses
In providing services we may incur disbursements or make payments to third parties on your behalf. These, including a Bureau Fee, will be included in our invoice to you. We may require an advance payment for the disbursements or expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf.

4.3 GST
GST is payable by you on our fees and charges (unless your situation qualifies for GST being exempt or zero-rated).

4.4 Invoices
We may send invoices to you, either monthly or at certain stages of the matter, on completion of the matter, or on termination of our engagement. We may also send you an invoice to obtain reimbursement for a significant expense incurred on your behalf.

4.5 Payment of invoices
Our invoices issued for legal services are due to be paid by the 20th day of the month following the month in which the invoice is dated.

4.6 Other options for payment
You can pay by:
(a) cash,
(b) cheque payable to: “Bramwell Bate Trust Account”,
(c) EFT-POS,
(d) Credit Card (Visa or MasterCard),
(e) Bank Direct Credit to Bramwell Bate Trust Account at ASB, Hastings, account number 12-3197-0001990-02 quoting your client matter reference shown at the top of your invoice.

4.7 Making arrangements for payment
If you are anticipating having difficulty paying an invoice on time, please immediately contact either the Bramwell Bate Lawyer who sent you the invoice or one of the Directors. We reserve the right to charge interest on any invoice remaining unpaid after the due date unless prior arrangements have been made. If any account is not paid within thirty (30) days interest will be charged on the outstanding balance at the rate of 15% per annum from the date on which payment was due and you will be responsible for any debt collection cost that we incur in recovering outstanding amounts from you.

4.8 Guarantees
If you are a company or other incorporated entity we reserve the right to seek appropriate personal guarantees in respect of our fees and expenses.

4.9 Pre-payments and Payment by Deduction
(a) we may ask you to pre-pay amounts to us, or to provide security for our fees and expenses. You authorise and instruct us to debit against amounts pre-paid by you.
(b) we may deduct our fees, expenses or disbursements from funds held in our Trust Account on your behalf for which we have provided an invoice.

4.10 Ceasing work following non-payment
If your account remains outstanding after sixty (60) days and no appropriate arrangements have been made with our firm then no further work will be undertaken by any Lawyer of Bramwell Bate until appropriate arrangements are made to bring the account back into good standing. You will be informed that work has ceased.

4.11 Credit enquiries
By engaging us you will authorise us to carry out reasonable credit enquiries and you authorise anyone we contact to provide to us information about you that we reasonably request as part of our credit enquiries. You also authorise us to provide information on any amount owed to us which is overdue for payment, to credit agencies.

4.12 Third Parties
Although you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for our fees and expenses, and although our invoices may at your request or with your approval be directed to a third party, nevertheless you remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us.

4.13 Collection costs
If you do not pay our fees and disbursement as they fall due, you may be liable for our costs, expenses and charges (including legal costs on a lawyer / client basis) that are incurred by us in collection of our fees and disbursements.

5. Confidentiality

5.1 We will hold in confidence all information concerning you or your affairs that we acquire during the course of acting for you. We will not disclose any of this information to any other person except:
(a) to the extent necessary or desirable to enable us to carry out your instructions; or
(b) to the extent required by law or by the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.

5.2 Confidential information concerning you will as far as practicable be made available only to those within our firm who are providing legal services for you.

5.3 We will not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.

6. Investment advice

6.1 Bramwell Bate Limited is a law firm. Any discussions we have with our clients regarding investment is purely incidental to providing legal services. For the purposes of Securities Markets Amendment Act 2006, Bramwell Bate Directors and staff are not investment advisors. Clients requiring financial advice about investments should take advice from a specialist in that area.

7. Termination

7.1 You may terminate our retainer at any time.

7.2 We may terminate our retainer in any of the circumstances set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.

7.3 If our retainer is terminated you must pay us all fees due up to the date of termination and all expenses incurred up to that date.

8. Verifying your identity

8.1 Please do not be offended if we ask you to show us documents verifying your identity. In many cases we are required to do so (even if we have acted for you previously), for example by the Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996 and the procedures for electronic registration of land transactions.

9. Retention of files and documents

9.1 You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for this matter (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you) 6 years after our engagement ends, or earlier if we have converted those files and documents to an electronic format.

10. Unique Documents

10.1 We shall retain the copyright in any unique document we prepare on your behalf using our legal expertise. This means that while you are entitled to use the document for the purpose for which it was commissioned, you or any other person are not permitted to make use of any such document for any other purpose without our agreement in writing. If you wish to make subsequent use of such a document, including modifying it for another purpose or situation, please first seek our agreement.

11. Conflicts of Interest

11.1 We have procedures in place to identify and respond to conflicts of interest. If a conflict of interest arises we will advise you of this and follow the requirements and procedures set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers.

12. Duty of Care

12.1 Our duty of care is to you and not to any other person. Before any other person may rely on our advice, we must expressly agree to this.

13. Trust Account

13.1 We maintain a trust account for all funds that we receive from clients (except monies received for payment of our invoices). If we are holding significant funds on your behalf we will normally lodge those funds on interest bearing deposit with a bank. In that case we will charge an administration fee of 5% of the gross interest derived.

In respect of New Zealand residents, Resident Withholding Tax (RWT) will be deducted and paid to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) on the interest you earn in accordance with current tax legislation. If we do not have your IRD number tax will be deducted at the default rate. Individuals or couples may provide us their IRD number(s) and nominate a rate at which withholding tax will be deducted. Impersonal entities for which we hold an IRD number will have tax deducted at the default rate unless we have received a copy of a valid certificate of exemption. For overseas clients, Non Resident Withholding Tax will be deducted and paid to IRD at the legally designated rate.

14. Professional Indemnity Insurance

14.1 We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets the minimum standards specified by the Law Society. We will provide you with particulars of the minimum standards upon request.

15. Lawyers Fidelity Fund

15.1 The Law Society maintains the Lawyers Fidelity Fund for the purposes of providing clients of lawyers with protection against pecuniary loss arising from theft by lawyers. The maximum amount payable by the Fidelity Fund by way of compensation to an individual claimant is limited to $100,000.00. Except in certain circumstances specified in the Lawyers & Conveyancers Act 2006 the Fidelity Fund does not cover a client for any loss relating to money that a lawyer is instructed to invest on behalf of the client.

16. Complaints

16.1 We maintain a procedure for handling any complaints by clients, designed to ensure that a complaint is dealt with promptly and fairly.

16.2 If you have a complaint about our services or charges, you may refer your complaint to the person in our firm who has overall responsibility for your work.

16.3 If you do not wish to refer your complaint to that person, or you are not satisfied with that person’s response to your complaint, you may refer your complaint to any of the Directors.

16.4 The Law Society also maintains a complaints service and you are able to make a complaint to that service. To do so you should contact the Law Society. The Law Society may be contacted as follows:
(a) by letter to the NZLS Lawyers Complaints Service, Hawke’s Bay Area, P O Box 341, Napier 4140;
(b) by email to [email protected];
(c) by telephone to 0800 261 801 or (06) 833 6435;
(d) by fax to (06) 835 1254

17. General

17.1 These Terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.

17.2 We are entitled to change these Terms from time to time, in which case we will send you amended Terms.

17.3 Our relationship with you is governed by New Zealand law.

18. Agreement

18.1 If we do not hear from you to the contrary by return mail, we will assume that you agree with all of the above terms and will proceed accordingly. If you conclude that you do not want our firm to act on your behalf, please inform us promptly.

18.2 Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns relating to any matters outlined in this letter. We value our relationship with you and encourage you to talk to us with any queries you may have.

18.3 We look forward to working with you and shall use our best efforts on your behalf.